Indianapolis News and HeadlinesPolitics

Actions

Senate committee advances bill defining antisemitism

indiana statehouse.PNG
Posted at 4:05 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 17:14:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana Senate committee advanced a bill that would define antisemitism in the state.

The Committee on Education and Career Development added amendments that addressed concerns of Muslim groups who feared it might let colleges or employers sanction people for criticizing the Israeli government.

"Most of our concerns with this bill were related to a very specific language that was in there that conflated antisemitism with criticism against the state of Israel," said Syed Ali Saeed, president of Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network. "As this amendment stands now, most of those concerns have been addressed."

During a hearing Wednesday, several members of the Jewish community expressed support for the changes, while others urged lawmakers to go back to the bill's original language.

"And now I'm even sadder to see the amendment that has been added to this bill," said Rabbi Sue Silberberg, executive director of Indiana University Hillel, "Because every single day since October 7, I have been working with and seeing students who are facing severe antisemitism on campus, every single day in a way that I have not seen in the past 35 years."

The committee voted 12-0 to advance the bill to the full senate.

If it passes the senate, the bill will go back to the Indiana House where lawmakers there must approve the changes and have a chance to add new amendments.

WRTV reporter Meredith Hackler contributed to this story.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at victor.ryckaert@wrtv.com or on X/Twitter: @vicryc.